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Every year the parents of Jesus used to go to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up for the feast as usual. When they were on their way home after the feast, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem without his parents knowing it. They assumed he was with the caravan, and it was only after a day’s journey that they went to look for him among their relations and acquaintances. When they failed to find him they went back to Jerusalem looking for him everywhere.

Three days later, they found him in the Temple, sitting among the doctors, listening to them, and asking them questions; and all those who heard him were astounded at his intelligence and his replies. They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, ‘My child, why have, you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.’

‘Why were you looking for me?’ he replied. ‘Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father’s affairs?’ But they did not understand what he meant.

He then went down with them and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority.

This reading, on the feast of St. Joseph is particularly important, as it is the only time in the thirty years of Jesus’ hidden life that his words have been recorded, and these words sum up concisely the purpose of the earthly life of all of God’s creatures.

They are best paraphrased: “Do you not understand that my primary duty and obligation is to do the Will of The Father?”

And this is significant when compared to the words of his Mother, twelve years earlier, at the Annunciation: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; - be it done unto me according to thy Will!”

There are so many situations in the life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (and in our own lives as well) that we find difficult to understand, but what we are being told, by each and every member of this family, is that only one thing matters during our earthly life, and that is that each and every one of us should have only one desire; - To do the Will of God!”

Nothing else matters! Nothing else is important! Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!

And how simple and straightforward it makes our time on this earth when this is made the sole purpose and aim of our life?

But while it is simple, it is anything but easy, a truth borne out again by the lives of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph when we read the Gospels. All three lives, despite their critical roles in God’s plan, involved enormous pain and sufferings via extreme trauma that was hard to understand!

And the lives of all three were marked by a common characteristic, that Christ in his public life, many years later, was to teach was critically important for his followers, namely Humility!

And Saint Joseph’s life was certainly marked by this virtue as he lead a hidden and simple life as a carpenter, but a life marked by Love of God, Love of Family, and Love of Neighbour!

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